SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 23, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Tehran University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 23, Tehran University reportedly fired Arash Raisinijad, a professor of law and political sciences apparently because of his advocacy for students who had participated in the nationwide “Women, Life, and Freedom” protests.

Raisinijad announced his dismissal on Twitter, saying “What if one day, the Iranian family lives a prosperous, happy, and dignified life in their home in Iran. Will I see that day? I don’t know, but hopefully that day will come.” Raisinijad had been supporting one of his students who had been arrested during the protest movement and was trying to get Tehran University to reverse the suspension of another student. Many Iranian professors have reportedly been ousted from their jobs or faced the threat of expulsion because of their support for the protests.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a higher education institution dismissing a member of the faculty in apparent retaliation for exercising his right to freedom of expression. Higher education officials should respect scholars’ exercise of such rights and refrain from disciplinary actions that punish or deter nonviolent expressive activity. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, disciplinary actions intended to deter or punish support for student protests on campus undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.